Our Projects/Programs

The Buttonwood Park Zoo is involved in a variety of local and international conservation efforts:


Karner Blue Butterfly    mQBUzS3bRMGf5Nyb8DkVWR4H
The Karner blue butterly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) is a small butterfly that lives in pine barren and oak savanna ecosystems. Historically they were found in many northern states, however they are now only found in parts of New Hampshire, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Minnesota. This beautiful butterfly is endangered mainly due to habitat loss and degradation resulting from land development and lack of natural disturbance such as wildfire and grazing by large mammals. Karner blue butterflies must lay their eggs on the leaves of one specific plant, the wild lupine plant (Lupinus perennis). Lupine is the only plant the hatched larvae can eat. This severely restricts where they can survive. Once the larvae transform into adults, they can then feed on the nectar of flowering plants.?

The Karner blue butterfly’s annual life cycle is harmoniously tied to that of the lupine plant which therein lies the problem. Lupine plants are unique in that they require wildfires to germinate and they thrive in areas that are periodically disturbed, which reduces or eliminates overhead canopies and plant competition. Nowadays, wildfires and controlled burns are not commonly practiced which limits the important habitat for Karner blues.

DSCN3415The future for the Karner blue butterfly lies in active management to simulate the historic role of fire in maintaining oak savanna and pine barren habitats. The Buttonwood Park Zoo works with the New Hampshire Fish and Wildlife Service in a partnership to protect this endangered butterfly, the wild lupine, and the ecosystems upon which both depend. This past spring Zoo staff worked with their ZooCrew campers to plant over 150 lupine plants. Zoo staff tended to and grew these plants over the summer and transported them all up to Concord, NH as part of the habitat restoration project for the endangered butterfly to create a place for this rare butterfly to lay its eggs next spring.



Butterfly Garden
Butterfly Garden 050The zoo maintains a seasonal butterfly garden designed to attract native butterfly and caterpillar species.  This garden has been developed through community collaborations with the Garden Club of Buzzards Bay, local schools, and local landscape architects.  The Zoo is developing conservation education messaging identifying the garden species and a take home message of environmental stewardship for zoo guests.





Quarters for Conservation

Your vote can change the world!

Quarters for Conservation is an exciting initiative that greatly enhances our wildlife conservation work. Through the collection of quarters, we’ll provide funding for new and existing wildlife conservation projects. This program provides an opportunity to engage our staff and our community in the effort while also significantly expanding our contributions to wildlife conservation in our backyard and around the world.

The following projects will receive funding thanks to our wonderful visitors!


  • National Marine Life Center of Cape CodIMG_5032
    The National Marine Life Center in Bourne, MA is a marine animal hospital and science and education center dedicated to rehabilitating for release stranded sea turtles, seals, dolphins, porpoises, and small whales, and to advancing scientific knowledge and education in marine wildlife health and conservation.


  • Elephant Family Asian Elephant Conservation
    The Elephant Family, a conservation organization, based in London exists to save this iconic animal from extinction in the wild, along with tigers, orangutans and all the other animals who share their habitat. Working with local people and partner non-government organizations, they currently fund 20 projects across Asia and invest where they are needed most: to protect habitat, prevent conflict and reconnect the forest homes of EmandRuththe endangered Asian elephant.


  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Program at Buttonwood Park Zoo
    The Buttonwood Park Zoo provides professional care to sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals so they can be returned to their natural habitat or be provided with a safe forever home here at the Zoo. Your donation will help offset the cost of the medicine, supplies, and staffing needed to allow for these animals to flourish once again. When release is not an option, our Animal Ambassador Program allows them to become an instrumental component of our wildlife education programs and 20150501_093754editprovides a home to many native animals that would have otherwise not survived in the wild.


Species Awareness Days
During these special species awareness days, zoo staff highlights the species by bringing special attention through additional keeper talks, education programs, and enrichment activities highlighting important facts and conservation messages

  • Bear Awareness Day
  • World Oceans Day
  • International Migratory Bird Day
  • Vulture Day
  • Elephant Appreciation Day


Frog Watch USA
FrogWatch USA is AZA’s flagship citizen science program that invites individuals and families to learn about the wetlands in their communities and help conserveDSC01921 amphibians by reporting the calls of local frogs and toads.” – AZA FrogWatch. The Frogwatch program began in response to a noticeable decline in frog and toad populations across the country and around the world. The idea was to gather scientifically creditable data to prove such a decline was in fact occurring while at the same time educating the public about amphibians and the probable causes for their recent declines. The Buttonwood Park Zoo supports the Frog Watch initiative by hosting public training sessions. Please visit our Frog Watch page for more information.